Above is a charming video clip of a Tu B’Shevat (Jewish ‘New Year for Trees’) sapling planting in Karmiel last month.
So with the greatest shame and disgust I report that on Tuesday evening last week I actively helped to prevent two teenage vandals from uprooting another young tree from its moorings outside the city’s public library.
I had been tempted to write a long piece discussing how public uproar had forced the British government to withdraw plans for the sale of the country’s forests. I had intended to compare the failed scheme to the Israeli authorities’ massive re-planting policy following the Carmel Forest Fires with reference to the Torah injunction of ‘bal tashchit – do not destroy.’
Instead, I will ask a universal question: Is there nothing that bored, disaffected youngsters won’t attempt to wreck? What’s the matter with everyone?
I realise I am been ridiculously naive when I complain of local racism, vandalism, general dirtiness and neglect. But I did – and still do – expect better of Israel and its citizens. Karmiel, still a new city less than 50 years old, has been designed as a child-centred haven of pleasant parks, play areas and delightful walks. Sometimes I wonder why the authorities bother!